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Consultation on amendments to Transport Safety Investigations Regulations 2003

Consultation period closes 31 January 2011


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau wants your help

We are looking to amend the mandatory aviation accident and incident reporting scheme, and we're keen to hear what you think. The main focus of our proposed changes is revising the detailed list of the reportable matters to provide clarity to those people with reporting responsibilities.  This is in the interests of sourcing accident and incident information from the industry that is more targeted for the purposes of use in safety research and analysis and assisting the ATSB to decide which matters to investigate.

In short, we want to ensure that it's easier to make the right notifications, and that the notifications can be of the most use.

Notifications of aircraft accidents and incidents are vital to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Not only do they alert us to potential investigations, they also create a vivid and useful portrait of aviation safety in Australia. Investigators and researchers use it to identify patterns and trends, and the ATSB receives many requests each year from the media and researchers (both private and professional) for details and figures of accidents and incidents.

Of the 15,000-odd notifications that come to the ATSB, about 8,000 are classified as safety occurrences and entered into the database. Those that don't make the cut are usually duplicate-reports on the same occurrence from different sources, or they describe things that aren't assessed as a transport safety matter. The 8,000 that actually do constitute safety matters are reviewed, and any that warrant closer review are forwarded to investigators. Depending on the circumstances, about 100 will be investigated each year.

Periodically, people will wonder why a particular accident or incident is not being investigated - particularly if someone has died. However, the ATSB isn't budgeted to investigate everything. Investigations have to be selective The ATSB investigates events that are likely to yield the biggest safety benefit and provide important safety messages.

This is not to say, however, that a notification is of no use if the ATSB does not investigate it. Those thousands of occurrences (around 243,000 since 1969)  are used in research and data analysis to allow a much better understanding of the trends and form of aviation safety in Australia.

So what exactly needs to be reported? And who needs to report it?

"Anyone who is 'a responsible person', as defined in the regulations (see below), is required to notify the ATSB of a 'reportable matter,'" explains Ethan. The regulations in question are the Transport Safety Investigation Regulations 2003, which, while not waiting room fare, do provide a definition for who constitutes a 'responsible person.' If you fit the criteria for being a 'responsible person', then it may pay you to acquaint yourself more fully with what you are obliged to tell the ATSB about, and when. If you know that the incident has already been reported, it doesn't need to be reported again, but it is your responsibility to make sure that the ATSB has been notified. And it is important that the notification reports are as accurate as you can make them. Submitting deliberately false or misleading information is actually a serious criminal offence under the Criminal Code. In fact, aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring or urging the submission of false or misleading information is also a serious offence. Some of the requirements may seem like more trouble than they're worth. Some of the reportable matters on their own may seem insignificant. But the occurrence reports all provide important insights into the health of the aviation system. They could also prove vital for our understanding of aviation safety issues, and how to address them.

So, the changes that we're proposing are important, not just for us, but also for you. You can find more information on the proposed amendments, and we're eager for your feedback.

Please forward your submissions to the contact officer below by 31 January 2010.


Contact Officer:

Steve Young
Manager, Notifications and Confidential Reporting
Email: regulation.consultation@atsb.gov.au

Phone: 02 6274 6471
Fax: 02 6274 6434

Postal address:
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
Notifications and Confidential Reporting
PO Box 967
Civic Square ACT 2608



Who has to notify the ATSB? Do you? The following persons are responsible persons in relation to reportable matters

a) A crew member of the aircraft concerned

b) The owner or operator of the aircraft

c) A person performing an air traffic control service in relation to the aircraft

d) A person performing a dedicated aerodrome rescue or firefighting service in relation to the aircraft

e) A person who
1. a. Is licensed as an aircraft maintenance engineer under the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 or the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998; and
2. b. Does any work in relation to the aircraft

f) A member of the ground handling crew in relation to the aircraft

g) A member of the staff of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority

h) The operator of an aerodrome

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Last update 04 January 2013

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